Hello, and welcome back to Introduction to Genetics and Evolution. In the previous video, we talked about the application of evolutionary insights to aid humanity or to help understand humanity. In this video, we'll be talking about some misapplications of evolutionary insights, times when people were perhaps good-intentioned, but applied evolutionary thinking in ways that were not intended or that were not beneficial to humanity. So, let's dive right in. Obviously, some mistakes have been made, and again, often by people who were well-intentioned, but what they did ended up having a very negative impact on humanity or on our planet. One classic example of people referred to is that of introduction of the cane toad to Australia. This was a very intentional introduction by humans. I believe it started in something like the 1930s where they brought over these cane toads to fight beetle pests that were found there at the time. Unfortunately, they didn't consider the biology enough, and there are no good predators of those cane toads found in Australia. As a result they spread dramatically. They're found now across a huge swath of the country, of the continent really, and then they've knocked out a lot of the native fauna there. So, this has been a very bad thing ecologically. And again, it was well-intentioned, but it wasn't completely thought through. A more extreme example potentially, and this is a case where the biology wasn't considered at all. Was again the intentional introduction of the European starling to the US. This was started with like a hundred birds or so. It was not tons and tons of bird. One person released them to let people experience these birds that Shakespeare referred to in England. When he was England but they released them in New York. Now they're found all over the continent. They've completely spread across the entire range. And again displaced a lot of the native faunas. This was a case of not considering the biology at all. Now these are cases involving various animals but what people sometimes do is they apply evolutionary concepts to justify other agendas which may be somewhat darker. Now again in these cases the evolutionary concepts in and of themselves aren't wrong, but the applications are wrong or at best, questionable. So we see here in this particular picture I show, this was something from Cincinnati saying the feeble-minded, or the hub of our wheel to vice, crime, and pauperism. Again, suggesting some sort of stopping of the feeble-minded or those who are labeled feeble-minded. Let's get into this, and we'll discuss both social Darwinism as it's sometimes inappropriately called and eugenics. Now social Darwinism was popularized by Francis Galton, who was actually Darwin's cousin. And he pointed out correctly that a lot of mental traits are inherited. So things like IQ have a high heritability, and various other talents. But what he then suggested from this, which is not as good, is that heredity should have a conscious decision. That essentially we should consciously allow those who we deem to be the more fit individuals to breed more than the less fit individuals. In this case we're not necessarily referring to fitness in the context of ability to produce a lot of offspring, but more fit in terms of how we think humanity should be. So in this context, people in welfare or insane asylums maybe considered less fit. So the idea would be to limit their access to medicine or limit their ability to reproduce. Now this was not popularly received. And even Darwin himself was against it. This is why I think it's inappropriately called social Darwinism. So Darwin responded to this pointing out that some elimination of the worst dispositions is always in progress, even in the most civilized or advanced nations. That again, a lot of criminals are executed or jailed which limits their ability to reproduce just in and of itself. Insane individuals are often confined or may be suicidal which again, limits their ability to reproduce. And this is a great quote. Violent and quarrelsome men often come to a bloody end, [LAUGH] which should clearly wouldn't have met their ability to reproduce. But he very strongly argued against any, what he referred to, check on sympathy. So not anything where we actually try to prevent particular people from breeding or hold back medicine or anything like that. And he says expecting the weak to not marry just won't happen. Nonetheless, this idea of eugenics was on the rise around these times, and this continued well into the 20th century. So, eugenics is the attempt to improve the human race by eliminating those deemed defective from the gene pool. Now, this is very questionable, but nonetheless, it was applied quite a bit. So, I'll give you a couple of examples. In 1924, the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is one of the states in the United States adopted a statute authorizing compulsory, it's a mandatory sterilization of the mentally retarded. That is just amazing. I was personally shocked. I had no idea this was true and in fact, this statute was not repealed until 1974, well into my lifetime. So again, this kind of thing is in our history, and this is a misapplication of evolutionary genetic insights. There was a famous case. That was the case of Buck versus Bell. So Buck was named for Carrie Buck, who was a Virginia inmate at a mental institution. Her picture is there on the screen. And she was to be sterilized for quote immorality. This went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in fact the legendary Oliver Wendell Holmes read the statement on it. And I have it quoted here. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. So they actually upheld it and I believe Carrie Buck was in fact sterilized. No, once she actually did have a grandchild. Her grandchild was actually on the honor roll at school, which shows that again, genetics doesn't explain everything. But again, these ideas were very abundant around this time. And Ronald Fisher, who's a famous statistician and evolutionary biologist advocated this. He reiterated this hereditary basis for offspring number and for temperamental qualities. Now, this is very similar to what Francis Galton was saying. He pointed out the birth rate is much higher in the poorer than in the more prosperous classes, and they have there a picture showing the correlation of the size of mother's family on the x-axis, with size of daughter's family on the y-axis, showing that generally speaking, people who came from large families tend to have large families. And it tends to be, according to him, the poorer that have more kids. So what he suggested, and this is again the questionable area's the redistribution of births would be attended by economic advantages. That essentially the more prosperous should be allowed to have more kids and in some way we should hold back reproduction from the poorer classes. This redistribution should favor the more successful. These are all very subjective qualities, the more successful, the more fit all these kinds of things. Now the thing that a lot of opponents of evolution always bring up is the idea of Nazi Germany adopting this sort of thing. There was a Nazi euthanasia program that was instituted to eliminate quote life unworthy of life. It's a very awful way of putting it. And in fact, they saw people with disabilities as a drain on resources. And many of them were killed in huge numbers as shown in this awful picture here. Now I wanna stress because this often comes up and people say, oh, see evolution is evil, Darwin was evil. In fact, contrary to claims, Hitler was not influenced by Darwin or by true evolutionary theory. There was no reference to Darwin whatsoever in Mein Kampf even though he was advocating this. Darwin as I mentioned disapproved of eugenics. So this is not following Darwin, this is going against Darwin. And in fact Hitler believed in intelligent design, really. So here's a direct quote. For it was by the will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape. That is very much intelligent design, that is not the standard theories of evolution. So although people sometimes throw this out as trying to tie Nazi, Germany, evil, with evolutionary biology, it's not true. Now, let's take this a step back. Why is eugenics wrong? I've been sort of implying through this whole time that eugenics is wrong, or at best questionable, but I think it actually is wrong. Well again as Darwin said, selection is still operating on humans no matter what. But we do have bad mutations coming up all the time and being eliminated from the population just naturally without any human interference. The heritability of bad traits is not always very high. So taking individuals and trying to stop the reproduction because they have these bad traits will not necessarily change how much these bad traits appear in the next generation. The other thing this does is this reduces variation that may be helpful in case of a change in environment. So if you go back, say, 500 years ago, somebody like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, who have been extraordinarily influential and successful by many measures, would not have necessarily been considered even above average. They have may have just been like, oh, there's this skinny person who's kinda smart. [LAUGH] Finally, and probably most importantly, who's to decide what's best? Who's to decide what is most fit? Or what is considered most successful? Is it just by money? That would be ridiculous. Fundamentally dictating who can marry or reproduce is considered by most people to be immoral. And therein lies the problem with eugenics. But ultimately there is no inherent good or evil in any sort of science really. We can apply it for good, as illustrated by the previous video. Or we can apply it in the poor ways, as was illustrated by some of the examples in this video. It's nonetheless incumbent upon us as scientists and as citizens to consider the consequences or ramifications of how we interpret the science, and to take very great care in how we present it. And ultimately we all have to behave morally. [LAUGH] Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.